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DISCLAIMER: I have had very little sleep in the last three days and I appear to still be a bit inebriated from last night. If any of the words or opinions that follow seem asinine or otherwise moronic to you in any way, shape or form, please do not doubt that they are. Thank you.
You’ve seen the setlist. And if you’ve seen even a few Phish setlists over the years, you may be wondering, “Seriously!? A “Rocky Top Mike’s Groove” first set opener, a “Curtain With” first set closer, a “JOY” second set closer!?” WTF!? “Curtain With” has never closed a first set, of course, and “Rocky Top” has not opened a show since 12/2/96. And closing a second set with an emotionally intense (if not ironically depressing) ballad like “Joy” just seems batshit f’ing crazy.
We reported a while back about Wiseguys Tickets, the guys who used Bulgarian hackers to defeat the TM capcha system and scoop up all the Hampton Reunion tickets at onsale, as well as Springsteen's and other concert and sporting events.
Yesterday, the linchpins were sentenced in NJ federal court, but surprisingly, didn't get the maximum five year prison terms of the crimes for which they were convicted, but a relative slap on the wrist more like an illegal lot vending rap, perhaps because of the novelty (and weakness?) of the government's case:
"Kenneth Lowson, 41, and Kristofer Kirsch, 38, both of Los Angeles, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and exceed authorized access to computers engaged in interstate commerce, for which they received two years probation and 300 hours of community service.
Joel Stevenson, 38, of Alameda, Calif., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of exceeding authorized access to computers engaged in interstate commerce and was sentenced to one year of probation."
Their Bulgarian hacker counterparts are still at large.
Source: Sofia, Bulgaria News Agecy 6/10/11 (no kidding)
Phish’s summer tour set up under the big-top of Darien Lake on Wednesday, providing fans with a double-header of wild rides: first in the theme park that was open only to Phish ticket holders, then with a diverse and wide-ranging gig itself. Their fifth performance here, Phish sought to expand on a history with the venue that includes the epic 8/14/97 gig with Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters “Forbin’s” -> “Camel Walk” madness, as well as 9/14/00 that contains what is widely regarded as one of the best ever versions of “Suzy Greenberg.” The park’s roller coaster imagery was appropriate for a tour that to date has had amazing highs, alongside some going-through-the-motions valleys. Let’s go to the videotape.
Signs Signs Everywhere a Sign. This gig’s fun started before the first note. A fan was front and center with both a “Jennifer Dances” shirt and sign. Trey immediately spotted the sign and asked for it, held it up, offered a spirited fist pump and said “Finally! Finally somebody got it right with the signs!” Apparently there are campaigns forming all across the land to end our long national nightmare and have Phish perform “Jennifer Dances” by bringing more signs and by having the crowd sing in unison before each show: “A little less salt in the gravy tonight!” The opener, “Nellie Kane” was also played in response to an enterprising group that literally had fifteen signs for the song! Phish, the all-request band!
After a drooping, bouncy rendition of Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood” (a comparatively rare one-two opening sequence that did not contain a Phish original), the crowd was treated to a short version of “Buffalo Bill,” surprisingly making its first appearance in the Buffalo area. Settling into the set we witnessed a strong but otherwise standard sequence of “Kill Devil Falls,” “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Rift.” “Undermind” follows, a song that varies so often it is hard to peg down what a “standard” version might look like. This one was as “traditional” as the song ever gets but featured viscous attacking lead lines by Trey, very strong! “Ride Captain Ride” was next, thrilling the crowd but causing a mild earthquake in southern California as @lemuria, entering his third decade of missing Phish perform the song, exploded in jealousy. One day, Ellis, one day.
A respectably precise version of “It’s Ice” was next, followed by the comparably underplayed “Dog Faced Boy” and “Brian and Robert” (the latter, apparently, also in response to a fan sign). Picking up the tempo, the roller coaster descended into a stock “46 Days,” a pleasant “Limb By Limb,” and an obligatory “Character Zero” rocking closer. Overall a diverse and unique set with many first-of-tour performances, almost-rarities, and selections from a broad spectrum of the band’s deep repertoire. The jamming jets were in deep cold storage, but overall Phish delivered a very enjoyable set in which most every fan could find something to love. We’ll be back in... fifteen minutes.
Having our appetites stirred with the hints of “Golden Age” in the GoldenGinTeca at Bethel, the second set opened with this TV on the Radio cover as if shot out of a cannon! This bright, fun and engaging tune that Phish debuted in Albany on 11/27/09 made its third appearance in the Phish setlist and was thrilling the crowd, when Trey bailed in favor of “Mike’s Song.” Let’s hope “Golden Age” sticks in the rotation and is allowed to run free like wind next time. Strong and fun, but keeping the 3.0 tradition of the “no jamming in ‘Mike’s Song’ rule” going, this version was precisely rendered. For the first time ever, “Fast Enough for You” followed “Mike’s” – an interesting and pleasant if not especially bold choice, but props for mixing things up. “Weekapaug” saw Mike, perhaps feeling the missed opportunity of the set opener, leading a “Golden Age” tease and the whole band continued the “Golden Age” theme throughout the above-average “‘paug.”
The fan-favorite instrumental “What’s the Use?” from The Siket Disc follows, setting in motion the middle portion of the set that was extremely well-played and enjoyable, but also safe and firmly within the lines. “Theme from the Bottom” and “Backwards Down the Number Line” were both excellent if lacking any genuine adventure. “2001,” however, was stellar and infused with “Golden Age,” “Happy Birthday” (possibly to the late Les Paul, whose birthday is actually 6/9) and “What’s the Use” teases; not rising quite to the level of, say, the Michael Jackson-drenched 6/25/10 Camden masterpiece, but strong, innovative and fun. A beautiful if “typically great” “Harry Hood” closes the second set, and the always rocking “Good Times Bad Times” encore sends everyone home happy. Load the trucks, Camden awaits!
Much as was the case the night before @ Great Woods (recap), this gig was quintessentially “Phish 3.0” – strong, competent, tight, proficient playing, with diversity achieved more through Phish’s ability to reach into a very deep catalog rather than leaping-off-the-cliff improvisation, sprinkled with a very early-90s-style of thematic teasing throughout the second set. The big jamming guns never left the truck for this one, but that type of playing is clearly an optional and not compulsory element of the Phish program these days. Good times, and there isn’t a better entertainment value on the summer shed circuit, or anything close. The weekend is here, Camden and Merriweather await, let’s get it on!
$20 plus shipping; ships on or about June 17th. Order from the Phish.net store here.
On Tuesday night Phish rolled into Great Woods, home of many a classic Phish gig, for their only performance this year in New England proper. On the heels of a smoking hot weekend (Pine Knob and Blossom in particular), the comparatively modest performances at this shed from the past two summers (6/6/09 and 6/22/10), and the brilliant summer sun, anticipation was high and the crowd was pumped.
The workmanlike first set was light on improvisational exploration but not without highlights. A rocking, high-energy “Llama” opened the proceedings, and the energy stayed high through an enjoyable if interchangeable series of “Moma Dance” > “Possum” and “Cities.” While “Moma” is perfunctory by nature, hopes for a pattern of jamming emerging on the heels of the brilliant “Possum” from Blossom and the well-above average “Cities” from Bethel were, unfortunately, dashed. Nevertheless a fun sequence. The return of “Instant Karma!” for only the second Phish performance (6/12/10) added some unexpected spice to the set; way to go, Page! “David Bowie” followed in an unusual mid-first set slot. Kudos for the placement, but this version was apparently ordered “no extra mustard” as it never really got off the ground.
The Phish debut of Al Green’s “Rhymes” – a standard in the Mike Gordon Band repertoire – was a welcome addition and hopefully a harbinger of more songs from the rotation of Mike’s “other band” seeping into Phish setlists. The real meat of this set was indisputably “The Divided Sky” that was both precisely rendered and soaring in intensity, laying a punishing smack down to the jaded vet loser who used the occasion to cycle liquids. But to be fair I only missed half of the song. :-) “Stealing Time” finished off the first set proceedings, taking a sharp step back from the highs of “Divided,” but rocked, compactly, as it is obliged to do. Overall, the jamming jets were mostly in the closed position but it was a perfectly enjoyable set with a mini-rarity, a debut, and a spectacular “Divided.” We’ll be back in fifteen minutes.
“Back on the Train” opened set two and was relaxed, lilting and a bit funky but (you knew it was coming at least once) Trey cut the jam a little short, opting for “Rock and Roll.” In this case, nice choice! Wow, just wow! For a 16+ minute version it wasn’t “exploratory” but it was absolutely dense-packed with power and energy. This was far and away the highlight of the night; do yourself a favor and download this show if only for this “R&R,” you don’t want to miss it. Great stuff! “Mango Song” follows and was a fantastic choice to bring down the energy level without crushing it entirely. Then “Bug,” that personally I love but the placement was questionable and there was a palpable deflation of crowd energy. Oh well, it doesn’t matter!
“Pebbles and Marbles” didn’t do much for the energy flow of the show, but is such a great song that Trey can be forgiven for mild misjudgement in the setlist arrangement, and the performance was excellent in any case. After the fantastic version in Bethel, “Halley’s” reverted into the 3.0 shell in which jams hide. “Meatstick” was fun, as always, though several commenters have noted that this song works better when deployed less often and I tend to agree, but at least a few of us still actually do the dance. “Antelope” was great, and in a “OK kids, let’s review what we’ve done today” approach included “Meatstick,” “Bug” and “Divided Sky” teases. The “Suzy” encore was stock rock fun, and that is a wrap.
Overall? Sorry, phish.net co-workers, but you can’t make me use the numeric scale! My mind doesn’t work that way with Phish. I’m there for the fun, the friends, and of course great music in the moment, and there was all of that and more, a fantastic night of entertainment in my home venue. The venue was fantastic, as always, no issues anywhere, excepting the shit-show traffic on the exit, but we weren’t in a big hurry so no worries. My “categories” such as they are: There are maybe ~5% of shows that are outliers on the low end, 10% of shows that are outliers on the high end, and the remainder are “average,” i.e. rock solid entertainment. In that light this was an average Phish show. It was not a home run and excepting the “Rock and Roll” the jamming jets were on cool, but worth every penny and more. Good times!
On a final note, I will use a numeric scale to describe Squidda, the lower Cape’s premier jam outfit that played in the RV/Bus lot before and after Phish: 10! Out of 10! (OK they are friends so please forgive me one innocent plug).
In what is hopefully a precursor to more announcements of webcasts for other Summer Tour shows, Phish announced that they will be live webcasting the Alpharetta, GA shows. Both shows on June 14th and June 15th are sold-out and can be ordered individually or as a package. Single shows will be $14.99 while the two-show package is $24.99.
Details and ordering information: LivePhish
As were the New Year's shows, these two from Alpharetta will be broadcast in Hi-Def 720p enabling you to be able to hook your computer up to your large screen TV with stunning results.
Enjoy the shows if you are heading to Alpharetta or through "Official Couch Tour 2011."
Anticipation could not have been higher heading into Phish's 6/4/11 show at the Blossom Music Center. The night before in Clarkston they had raised the bar for the tour (and, arguably, 3.0) with one of their strongest start-to-finish sets in recent memory. Was that going to be the new "normal" or just a fortunate aberration?
After the first set, the jury was still out. The set included a little bit of everything: well played versions of composed numbers like "Guyute" and Foam," energetic versions of rockers "Kill Devil Falls" and "Antelope," a return to the Little Feat catalog with "Rocket In My Pocket," and even the aural monstrosity that is "Fuck Your Face." Still, while everything was played well, they never really left the confines of any single song.
While Phish is busy destroying America, the Blog is back to kick off the second year of Mystery Jams with #53 (see here for our humble beginnings). As usual, we will be playing for an MP3 download courtesy of our friends at LivePhish.com / Nugs.Net. The rules haven't changed: you need to correctly identify the song and the date to win. Post your guess in the comments. One guess per person per day (with the second “day” starting after I post the hint). The hint will come on Tuesday and the answer will be posted on Wednesday. Good luck...
Tuesday Hint: Fun Mystery Jam Fact -- This week's MJ was published at precisely 11:06:03 a.m. Not that we need a hint, but...
MP3 Downloads Courtesy of LivePhish.com
Sitting in the midst of the vast sprawl of an outdoor amphitheater during an encore when thousands of like minded fans held Zippos or Bics in the air was an indelible image that became ingrained in many concert goers minds in days gone by. Later, glowstick wars became one of those incredible visual memories seeing all the wild fluorescents fly through the air in orchestrated syncopation.
Now, developer and Phish fan, M@ - aka Matt Sheppard, thinks it is the time for smartphones to take over with an iPhone & Android app called Crowd Lights.